Have your say: Taskforces eye RMA reform on urban limits to cut section prices

Have your say: Taskforces eye RMA reform on urban limits to cut section prices
Environment Minister Nick Smith has announced two new taskforces to look at Resource Management Act (RMA) reform, issues surrounding urban design, metropolitan urban limits and housing affordability. "There are major question marks over the way the Resource Management Act is working in urban areas," Smith said. "I don't think we have the incentives right for developers to do the best urban design in our largest cities. There are also questions about the policy of metropolitan urban limits, the effect they have on section prices and the negative flow-on effects to the broader economy. Nor do we have a good track record of having the right infrastructure in place at the right time for supporting urban development," he said. We welcome your views below. Here is the announcement from Smith, including outlines of what the two groups will focus on:
New Zealand needs to do better with its planning of urban development and associated infrastructure, Environment Minister Nick Smith said today announcing two new technical advisory groups to support the Government's programme of resource management reforms. "There are major question marks over the way the Resource Management Act is working in urban areas," Dr Smith said. "I don't think we have the incentives right for developers to do the best urban design in our largest cities. There are also questions about the policy of metropolitan urban limits, the effect they have on section prices and the negative flow-on effects to the broader economy. Nor do we have a good track record of having the right infrastructure in place at the right time for supporting urban development. "These are complex issues that require careful deliberation and expert input. That is why the Cabinet has appointed Urban and Infrastructure Technical Advisory Groups to work with the Ministry for the Environment to report on these issues this year." The Urban TAG will be chaired by barrister Alan Dormer and includes planning consultant Adrienne Young Cooper, research economist and consultant Arthur Grimes, architect and urban designer Graeme McIndoe, Chief Executive of the Property Council of New Zealand Connal Townsend and Ernst Zollner of the New Zealand Transport Agency. It has a report date of 31 March 2010. The Infrastructure TAG will be chaired by Mike Foster, Director of Zomac Planning Solutions Ltd, and includes planning consultant Adrienne Young Cooper, barrister Alan Dormer, solicitor Kelvin Reid, civil engineer Lindsay Crossen, Sacha McMeeking from Ngāi Tahu and the Chief Executive of the New Zealand Council for Infrastructure Development Stephen Selwood. It has a report date of 30 June 2010. "These issues of urban design and infrastructure have important linkages and that is why Alan Dormer and Adrienne Young Cooper have been appointed to both advisory groups. The work the TAGs will do will feed into the Government's broader Phase II RMA reforms and a further amendment Bill." Urban Technical Advisory Group The RM Phase II Urban Technical Advisory Group (TAG) is appointed to provide independent advice to the Minister for the Environment on proposals for the reform of the urban planning and design mechanisms in the RMA and related legislation. The scope of the review will look the merits of tools currently available for implementing urban planning and design including:
  • housing affordability/section pricing mechanisms
  • urban design panels
  • metropolitan urban limits
  • financing and funding mechanisms for infrastructure
  • spatial and structure plans
It will also look at integrating and align planning statutes and planning mechanisms (specifically the RMA, Local Government Act and Land Transport Management Act). Infrastructure Technical Advisory Group The RM Phase II Infrastructure Technical Advisory Group (TAG) is appointed to provide independent advice to the Minister for the Environment on proposals for the reform of the Infrastructure provisions in the RMA and related legislation. The Scope of the TAG's investigation of infrastructure work will include:
  • A review of the role of designations in facilitating infrastructure development and an examination of options for reviewing and streamlining the designation mechanism.
  • An investigation of alternatives to designations for planning for and managing the effects of activities on network infrastructure.
  • Streamlining and integrating processes including for acquisition and compensation, under the Public Works Act 1981 and other legislation.
Click here to see a previous story: Motu's Grimes says Auckland urban limits driving land prices up, stifling development. What do you think? What should the two taskforces recommend (if anything)? Will this just create a whole lot more hot air with recommendations that won't be acted on? Is there really a problem? We welcome your comments and insight in the space below

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